Blog post one: “If you want to do something nice for a child, give them an environment where they can touch things as much as they want”

Blog post one: “If you want to do something nice for a child, give them an environment where they can touch things as much as they want”

I want to continue this post which I touched on, on Instagram. Children should fundamentally have an environment that fulfils their enjoyment and interests. For example, a child may have an interest in construction. This gives the early years educator and parents the opportunity to fulfil the environment with items relating to construction. This may include loose parts that the child may use to build during construction play. It may include an area that includes sticks, stones and construction toys that give the child the opportunity to explore a building site. This may also give children the opportunity to create their own construction toys using recycled materials. Children enjoy having the freedom to touch things within the environment. This gives children the opportunity to explore their surroundings both indoors and outdoors. If a child isn’t enabled to explore the environment, the child isn’t getting a fulfilling learning experience. Therefore, development such as hand eye coordination, pincer grasp, gross and fine motor skills, communication skills, imaginative thinking skills, knowledge, developmental domains and interaction with peers might not happen. Within, the indoor environment it may include an area such as recyclable materials or loose parts. This gives children freedom to explore their surroundings. Early years educators and parents moving areas around, changing weekly and fulfilling children’s interests.

 Early years educators and parents are given the opportunity to teach child about the world around them. This may include nature, creatures and using recyclable materials. For example, during outdoor play a child sees a ladybird. This opens the opportunity to discuss what a ladybird looks like, where a ladybird may sleep and what a ladybird may eat. This may develop into a child stating I saw a lady bird that looked lighter or orange. This may also include a little bird within the outdoor garden. The child may explore, the birds features, what they eat, where they live and if the bird comes from another country. For example, the cuckoo comes from Africa and south Asia. This discussion may be expanded in exploring the birds further and making bird feeders from plastic bottles or making a wooden one. The child may decorate their own little bird house and hang outside in the early years service or at home. This could be furthered with a pair of binoculars and child taking off a list of birds seen.

Enabling children to explore the outdoor environment gives children many opportunities to touch and explore. This may include a nature walk. For example, a walk near home or at the early years service. This gives opportunity for discussion within both surroundings. This might enable children to adopt activities such as gardening. For example, planting their own flowers or vegetables. This enables child to water the plant or vegetable, explore the growth, features and the achievement of growing the flower or vegetable.

The most important thing for children is to touch and explore new things within their environment. No matter how big this may seem, children gain independence. This also formalises children being open to exploring new opportunities within practice, school and at home. For example, helping to bake, sensory activities, outdoor exploring and many more areas. The opportunities are endless. For instance, child led play opens up activities. This may include an area that educators or parents can explore further. Empower children to have freedom, explore and learn new things such as curiosity. “Play is the work of the child” Maria Montessori.

Christmas

Christmas

Hi everyone, as it is coming into that time of year again. I thought Christmas themed activities and art that children will enjoy is important. Christmas is a time were children learn kindness, the importance of the celebration of Christmas, goodwill and the fun in waiting for Santa Claus. Every child’s house hold has their own Christmas traditions or things they do as a family each year. Maybe it’s putting the Christmas tree up together, maybe it’s carol singing, the list is endless. Children’s excitement at this time of year is a joy to see and hear, at their overwhelming excitement. Some children may be excited for a little break from school to. This year Christmas may be a little different, but those little family traditions still will keep the spirit of Christmas alive. Children do not need expensive toys to enjoy Christmas, they need their family and friends and traditions. I hope everyone enjoys the art and activities. I really enjoyed putting this blog together.

Art and Activities:

Create Santa Claus using paper plateS, cotton wool, red and black paint, and black card. First, cut a paper plate in half. with the second half cut it smaller to create Santa’s beard. Using a glue stick the two sections of paper plates together to create santa’s face and beard. With another paper plate cut a triangle shape to create Santa’s hat. Paint this paper plate red and when dry stick cotton wool to the bottom and top of the triangle. Once dry stick to Santa’s head. Using a marker and black card, create Santa’s eyes, nose and mouth.

Rudolph can be create the same, only using brown paint and creating antlers instead of a hat.

A Christmas cracker; one sheet of coloured card, jewels, paint, tinsel and string. Firstly, decorate one side of the card using jewels, tin foil or paint. Once decorated and dry cut on the end of the two short sides of the card using crinkle scissors. Fold the card into a round shape and using string tie one side. The child can then put a little treat inside e.g. a bar, sweets etc. Then tie the other side.

A Christmas Tree; one sheet of white or red card, light green paint and dark green paint, glitter or jewels, and black card. The child will using both the green paints create a Christmas tree. The black card should be cut in a square shape for the tree holder. Once dry, the child can decorate their tree using glitter, jewels or stickers. The Christmas tree can also be created using paper plates and cutting in half. For example, if the tree is three tiered each tier is cut smaller nearer the top. The child can paint and decorate the tree.

Marshmallow Snowmen; Using two or three white marshmallows stick together using icing. Once dry the child can create the eyes using icing and the buttons using chocolate buttons or icing. For the arms the child may use brown icing and orange for the nose. The hat can be made from black liquorice.

Painting and decorating Christmas conkers to hang on the Christmas tree using string or ribbon.

Christmas Sensory box using candy sticks, cut wrapping paper, shredded white paper and Christmas decorations e.g. tinsel, babbles etc.

Create their own sensory bottle. Using an old plastic drink bottle, the child can put tinsel, glitter, and water into the bottle.

Shaving foam sensory table; create their own shaving foam snowman. Then when the snowman is created, use buttons for his eyes and nose and tummy and tinsel for his hat. This could also be done outdoors incorporating nature into creating the snowman. E.g. sticks for his hands, stones for his eyes and mouth, leaves for his hat etc.

A conversation about the differences in weather at Christmas. Sometimes their is snow and their are no leaves on the trees. This may include talking about the Holly plant and showing the children how some Holly trees have berries and some do not.

A sensory area with sprinkles, gingerbread men and cooking materials such as wooden spoon. To further this activity, the children could decorate their gingerbread men using red, white and green icing. They then could eat their gingerbread men together at early childhood service or take home for parents, guardians, grandparents, brother or sister etc.

Christmas Stories; this could include the children creating their own Christmas puppets using props such as a wooden spoon, buttons and materials around the early childhood service. The puppets could then include the children within the story time.

Christmas songs and poems.

Christmas Fairy Cakes; This can be done by buying fairy cakes from the shop and giving the children icing and items such as sweets to create their own Christmas fairy cake. The child could create a star, snowman, Rudolph, Christmas tree or Santa.

Strawberry Santa; Cut the top of two strawberries, using cream put on the two strawberries to stick on top of each other one as Santa’s body and the other his hat. Then put cream on top of his hat and cream to create buttons on the other. This is a simple, fun and healthy Christmas activity for children.

Outdoor activity, get the children to collect sticks from around the garden, using four sticks tie them together to create a star shape. The children can then use items such as tinsel, conkers, glitter, jewels etc to decorate their outdoor Christmas star.

Using the Christmas Elf, create an outdoor sensory tub using flour for snow, put Elf into the tub and make a snow angel from the flour and elf.

Christmas themed play dough, making the playdough with the children. The play dough could be red or green using glitter and cinnamon for sensory. The child may use tinsel to mix within the playdough.

Cotton wool Snow Man, using white card, cotton wool, buttons and cotton buds.

Create your own christmas decorations, e.g using card, paper plates or lolly pop sticks. For example, the lolly pop sticks may create a star when decorated, the paper plate could create a Santa or Christmas tree decoration and the card could make a Christmas tree using the handprint of the child when decorated.

Snow Flakes; Using paper plate, cut around the paper plate to make a snow flake shape, decorate the snow flake using glitter and jewels.

I hope everyone enjoys these activities and art as much as I enjoyed writing them.

“Christmas see magic because they look for it”

Christopher Moore

Communication and Language development.

Communication and Language development.

This particular topic is a fundamental part of a child’s early childhood journey. This includes the child expressing their feelings, understanding what someone is saying to them, paying attention when someone is talking to them and responding when someone is talking to them. The early years educator and parents/guardians in giving children various opportunities to communicate are providing children the opportunity to give their thoughts and feelings. This may include a favourite area the child is interested in or maybe it is a discussion on a topic within the home or service that is of major interest to the children. Giving opportunities for language development for young children is a meaningful experience for them. The early years educator should have eye contact when talking to the child and also speak clearly so the child understands what is said to them. This also includes not interrupting the child when they are speaking and allowing them to finish their conversation. Below is a list of games and activities that enhance a child’s communication and language skills.

Activities and games

  • Nursery rhymes. For example focusing on one nursery rhyme per week such as Mary had a little lamb on week one and the three little pigs on week two. This may include taking a section of the nursery rhyme each day and including actions. This may follow a discussion on the nursery rhymes, pictures and the rhyme displayed within the service. This could also include instead of Mary had a little lamb changing it to the child’s name. Child A had a little lamb.
  • Story time. This is a fun and meaningful way for language and communication skills. This may include questioning, the child’s thoughts and what they think should happen or might happen. This may include questions such as (the three little pigs) Why do you think the little pig built his house with sticks? Would you build your house with sticks? This activity can also be extended with the children building their own little house outdoors using natural materials or a art activity indoors. This opens up the child’s thoughts and feeling of this story. Maybe the child would state “I felt scared” etc.
  • Blowing bubbles.
  • Chinese whispers. A very fun activity for children and understanding that when you talk quietly sometimes people hear things differently.
  • Each child saying a line to a story. For example, The early years educator may start off by saying “Mary was playing outside in the garden”, then each child states a line e.g. Child A may say “Mary was playing with her pet dog Rex”.
  • Point and tell activity. Each child point to a item and explains a little about it. This includes each child saying a different item. For example, Child A points to the table and says “The table is red and (counts that the table has four legs), it has four legs and I eat my snack at that table.
  • A direction game. This would include the practitioner telling the children the different directions. Each child would then direct another child to a particular area. For example Child A is directing child B to the library corner. Child A tells Child B to go straight, then go right and then forward. This could also include directions on the floor, a simple map and hints for the child. It could also be done in the outdoor environment.
  • Picture story time. This would include a discussion of what is happening in the picture, people’s facial expressions and items within the picture. For example, Child A “do you think the little girl is happy in the story”. “Why do you think that”. or point items in the picture “Child B point two items that you can eat in the picture” or Child C “point two items of clothing in the story”.
  • For older children creating a little presentation on a particular topic. For example, a class trip or something the class has done and presenting their topic.
  • Show and tell. Each child brings one item each and tells the class about their item and demonstrates their item.
  • Each morning asking the children “How are you feeling today ” and “why are you feeling that way”?
  • A discussion each day on the weather, day, month and any news.
  • Blindfold a child and describe a object. This includes clues such as “the object has leaves” and “birds build nests in these”
  • Turn taking games with peers.
  • Sand and water play – great communication games.
  • Construction play.
  • A topic each week based on areas of interest . e.g. Child A is interested in dinosaurs. This may include child A telling the other children the types of dinosaurs and their favourite dinosaur.
  • A old telephone within the role play area. e.g. doctors surgery or restaurant.
  • Mirror game – this includes two children in a pair. One child looks in the mirror and makes a facial expression, the other child describes the child looking in the mirrors face and they swap.
  • Asking questions during play. “what are you making”
  • Circle time activities such as what is missing game. This includes picking five items from the room. With a cloth remove one item. Then ask the children what is missing.

“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment”

Maria Montessori

Screen Time

Screen Time

I have previously discussed this topic on a small scale on my Instagram page Children’s Creativity Corner, however I am going to discuss screen time further within this blog. Screen time is currently the most wanted item within a child’s life. Yes screen time is important for the information and learning that can from it. However, their is also a down scale to a child using technology on a high scale. The child’s interaction and socialisation skills are lower. For example, the child is not interacting with peers or socialising due to screen time. Communication skills are not being used as much either as the child’s interaction is fully with screen time. Areas such as problem – solving skills maybe in the outdoor environment isn’t the same as a child whom has fewer hours of screen time. Screen time for young children is a fun experience and it is used in teenage and adult years but a child also needs other experiences apart from screen time. This is why the child earning screen time is a perfect element to focus a child in other areas also. Screen time is great but in limitation like everything. The child will earn 30 minutes of screen time. For example, tidies their toys, plays outdoors for one hour. This may sound like the child is only doing this because….but while experiencing the outdoors the child may become interested in an area maybe that’s flowers, maybe its water play or maybe it is a tractor ploughing the field beside their house. The child may experience new things and enjoy different areas and activities. Over the course of my research it is proven nature and outdoor play is essential for a young child’s mental health. Below is a list of art, activity areas and earning screen time;

Art and Activities

  • Earning a half hour of screen time; make my bed, tidy my toys, 30 minutes of reading, 1 hour outdoor play, help my friends or family member, clean my room, do my homework.
  • Puppet making – this may extend into a show with family. Maybe the child along with family, friends will create their own puppets and own puppet show story. This may include the puppet show box area and the various characters within the show.
  • Exploring the outdoor environment – nature tick list (looking for various items within a picture list), looking at the changes (e.g. nature – trees, animals hibernating if in winter, weather – snowy, windy, rainy). Maybe the child may want to grow their own plant or vegetable.
  • Story time were the parents/guardian or the child reads a story or looks at the pictures. This may lead to a discussion on their favourite part of the story, favourite character, how they thought/think the story would end, what would they do in that situation (e.g. little red riding hood). This may be extended with a story corner with props, making puppets, imaginative thinking, making their own story. This could also include exploring a different story each week.
  • helping a family member or friend may include one act of kindness each day. This may include talking about their act of kindness and how someone felt. For example, helping child B to put the art materials away. It made her happy, smile etc.
  • Painting or making art project. This may include the child making their own picture frame using recyclable materials. The child take part within the whole process, making, decorating and putting a photograph in. Maybe a child wants to make a dolls house for their doll, or a castle for the knights.
  • Cardboard box activities, maybe it’s a tv, maybe it’s a ball target, the list is endless.
  • Gluing and sticking activities.
  • Pretend play, this may be the child pretending to make dinner within the home or pretending to be a doctor.
  • Brushing and sweeping with their own brush and pan.
  • Activities packs or bags. This may be filled with different items relating to a particular theme or area. lion, blue stones, tray, rice etc.
  • Old gadgets around the house. For example, a phone maybe used within pretend play for the doctors or the restaurant.
  • Baking or messy play. This may include making playdough together or rice krispie buns/squares.
  • water play – this may include water ball play, shaving foam, funnels, plastic yoghurt pots.
  • music. This provides great fun child dancing or playing musical games such as musical statues.
  • Matching games/linking games. This may be using materials from around the home that are linked. For example, bowl and spoon, hair brush and hair tie or gel, shoes and socks. It may also be using cards e.g. tiger, dog matching to their picture.
  • cycling outdoors with parents, siblings etc.
  • Lego play – construction play.
  • Puzzles using family pictures or the child’s pet.
  • Mud kitchen – pots, pans, mixing spoon, bowls. The child may pretend their making a mud cake using mud, flowers, leaves and grass. This is great for exploring the different elements within the outdoor environment.

“Play is the highest form of research “

Albert Einstein

Winter

Winter

Winter in early childhood settings is a fun and exciting time for young children. Children are noticing more changes in the season’s, Christmas coming up and the much colder weather. Winter within early childhood can be explored in many different ways. Maybe the child is experiencing snow for the first time, exploring the winter clothing, discussions about things that happen in winter, the list is endless. Exploring winter as a whole for children gives children a new learning of the world around us. It may include winter animals such as the polar bears, penguins or exploring the colder hemisphere and staying safe during winter. It may include a discussion on the weather forecast, a woodland walk that includes flowers such as snowdrops or bluebells, or maybe creating a winter collage. Below is a list of art and activities;

Art and Activities;

  • A discussion about winter clothing. For example, hats, scarfs, gloves, wellies and a coat. This may follow about wrapping up warm when playing outdoors.
  • Paper puncher paper as snow within a sensory tray. it could have items such as hats, scarfs, gloves etc.
  • Making a snowy tree. This may be made with brown tree cut out and using a cotton bud and white paint painting snow onto the tree.
  • Creating their own hat using a paper plate, wool and materials such as gems or paint etc. The children can decorate the pattern on the hat and using cotton wool as the bobble on the hat.
  • Make your own snow owl. This may be made by painting white onto black paper or card. The wings may be made by cutting a paper plate in half. The eyes may be made using yellow paper or paint. For further detail cotton wool may be stuck onto the snowy owl. To add further detail the child could dab grey paint onto the owl.
  • Make your own cardboard decorated wellies using materials such as paint, gems, cotton wool, stamping etc.
  • polar bear using white cotton wool and either white paper or card as a bear shape. The child may paint black paint or black paper.
  • Create their own penguin. The child cuts out black paper penguin shape. Then using white cotton bud and white paint for the middle of the penguin. The child then would cut out a orange/yellow triangle for the nose and orange/yellow circles for the feet.
  • Sensory winter bottle using a plastic bottle, water, silver glitter and icicle shapes.
  • Painting pebbles as penguins, snowy owl, polar bear or snow fox.
  • Ice cubes sensory tray. The ice cubes could be mixed with blue food colouring. The early years educator could explore with the children how ice stays frozen in winter, then using a little mildly warm water (keep child back from warm water) explore how in warmer weather snow melts. This may led to discussion on the artic hemisphere.
  • Animals that live in the hemisphere, polar bear, penguin, snowy owl, cheetah etc.
  • white stars using modelling clay. The child could create the shape and paint and glitter to decorate their star. This may led to the song twinkle twinkle little star.
  • A conversation about being careful when their is snow and ice. E.g. questioning and exploring and thinking. Questions such as should we run in ice? Can we always see ice?
  • A winter picture. Paint a sheet of white paper or card. Paint using light and dark coloured blue paint. Using a cotton bud dab white paint. Then using glitter (silver or blue) sprinkle on the picture.
  • A discussion on the differences outdoors during winter. e.g. trees have no leaves apart from fir trees(Christmas trees).
  • Make their own mug using lollypop sticks. The child sticks the lolly pop sticks to a mug shape (white card or paper). The child can decorate their mug as they want. The child then can make the handle on the mug using pipe cleaners or card.
  • Sensory winter tray using cotton wool balls and icicles, blue gems, stones, pine cones.
  • Sensory feely bag using cotton wool, glitter, paper cones etc.
  • Make a snow globe. A plastic jar and cotton wool, glitter, pine cones into the jar. The child may make their own snow tree, winter animal or person for inside the jar. It may be stuck into the jar using playdough.
  • Winter playdough. White playdough using glitter and cinnamon fragrance.
  • Winter construction area. With blue stones, gems, cotton wool, glitter.
  • Decorating a Cookie as an icicle.
  • ginger bread penguin using black, yellow and white icing.
  • Marshmello stamping or make a marshmello animals.

“Snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood”

Andy Goldsworthy

“When there’s snow on the ground , I like to pretend I’m walking on the clouds”.

Takayaki Ikkaka

Child Led Activities

Child Led Activities

Child led activities are a major part of early childhood. This enables young children to make decisions and create items that are meaningful to them. Child led may be a selection of materials and goods on a table were a child has the option if they would like to participate, or it may be during creativity the adult questioning the child. For example, when making something asking the child their opinions and following their lead. It may also be a game outdoors were the child makes a suggestion and following their lead. This is a happy, meaningful experience for children and enables them to feel that their opinions matter within the early childhood service. The benefits of child led activities are as follows; the child is taking the lead in the activity, the learning outcomes make the child feel less pressurised, the child is interested in the environment around them, the learning is meaningful to the children and their experiences within the service, questioning skills – this may include questioning the adult or the other children, it shows the child’s own love for learning new things. This may include curiousity skills. The learning happens fastly and while the child is talking or quickly comes up with a new idea. The ideas the child comes up with gives multiple learning opportunities. Child led within the early childhood service may happen throughout the day or maybe the service sets an hour where children can express their ideas and take charge within activities. It may also happen during quiet time where the child notices an activity another child is doing and expresses their ideas. Engagement in child led activities is vital for young children development. This includes hand eye coordination, cognitive thinking, expression, problem solving skills, language skills, play skills, fine and gross motor skills and a child curiousity. Below is a list of activities for child led play;

Art and Activities;

  • Play dough table. This may lead to the child creating buns for the kitchen in the early childhood room or making dinner within a restaurant.
  • Water play area. This provides endless opportunities. Maybe props such as diggers, tractors, pots and pans, drains, bottles and piping.
  • A recyclable creativity tables. This could include children bringing materials from home such as shoe boxes, magazines, yoghurt pots etc. The children may come up with a creative idea.
  • Lego or blocks. This provides endless opportunities for child led play. Maybe child A takes the led and creates a castle, while child B and C decide to make a carriage for the castle.
  • Spaghetti sensory, this may include food colouring spaghetti or pasta. Maybe the children decide the spaghetti is snakes or worms, maybe they decide the spaghetti is for the rooms kitchen or maybe they decide the spaghetti is a muddy field and use construction toys to go through.
  • Sand tray. This could include various props such as animals, cars, nature materials such as sticks, leaves or stones. Maybe child A and B decide it is a safari island or maybe child C decides it is the beach. Another child may decide it is a sandy road.
  • An area with items such as rocks and shapes. This gives children the opportunity to create items such as a house using the different rocks and shapes or maybe an animal. The list is endless.
  • Corn tray or rice tray. This gives opportunity for ideas such as questioning and maybe the children decide it is a corn field at their farm or maybe they want to create art using the corn or rice.
  • Different paint trays. This may include paint, ice paint or painting with sticks and leaves or maybe stamp painting using different materials.
  • Child led could include the child deciding when they want to have their snack within the service.
  • Child led includes the child hanging their own coat up.
  • Child led could include the child cleaning the tables before snack or other activities.

“Let the child be the scriptwriter, the director, and the actor in his own play”

Magda Gerber

Halloween

Halloween

This post will include numerous art and activities that make Halloween fun for children. Firstly, always discuss with children that Halloween does not have to be scary. It is a fun time for children to dress up for the day. Halloween for me meant sweet treats such as candy apples and pretending to be a specific character for the day. Maybe that was little red riding hood or maybe batman. It doesn’t matter who the child feels they want to be for Halloween that is their choice. Maybe you as a child yourself enjoyed bobbing for apples or getting your face painted. Providing children with these fun ways enables children to pass on for generations to come that Halloween is fun and isn’t scary. I know from personal experience that some services make the discussion not to celebrate Halloween and that is okay, that is that services choice. Below is a list of fun and exciting activities for children. I hope they enjoy;

Art and activities

  • making a light. This can be done using an old jam jar and covering in white paper. The child then can draw a face and place a little tea light inside. At night turn the light off and look at your new light.
  • Pumpkin soup
  • Carving your own pumpkin face.
  • Pumpkin using a paper plate.
  • Making a ghost, vampire or pumpkin using paper/plastic cups and either painting or using strips of paper.
  • Make your own spider using a piece of square black card or folding small black bits paper as legs, goggly eyes or paper eyes.
  • Creating a pumpkin using orange lollypop sticks or if not orange painting them orange. The child then can add green paper and the face.
  • A Halloween using a picture of the child’s face on black card and cutting tiny pieces of white card out and sticking them on.
  • A ghost using cotton wool balls.
  • A bat – paint a paper plate black, cut out wings and either put goggly eyes or make own eyes.
  • A black cat using a toilet roll holder – paint black, cut ears and tail from black card and either goggly eyes or make own eyes. The child can add whiskers also.
  • Handprint spiders using black paint.
  • Tissue paper pumpkins.
  • Goblin guts using spaghetti boiled and left to cool. Then add green food colouring or paint. Then add spiders and Halloween items to the tub.
  • Halloween sensory bags using green jelly or paints.
  • Shaving foam tub with fake eyes within the tub. The child may image a friendly ghost called Casper within the tub/eyes.
  • Sensory tubs that include carrots, grapes, blackberries, spaghetti were the child can create their own Halloween food tray.
  • bobbing for apples.
  • Halloween lucky dip. This could include little treats e.g. pick and mix etc.
  • A sensory tub using orange jelly eyes, pumpkin pieces and toy hands within the tub.
  • Goggly sensory bags including jelly, slime or shaving foam.
  • Halloween sensory bottles. This can be done using an old plastic bottle, glitter and Halloween objects.
  • A discussion about Halloween and the child can question the educator.
  • Halloween playdough. The child and adult/educator could make orange play dough and have pumpkin smell within it.
  • Creating Halloween rice krispie treats with the children; Mixing the rice krispies with white chocolate and orange food colouring. Roll the mix into circles. The child can then decorate their pumpkin.
  • Rice krispie bats using rice krispies, white chocolate and oreos. The child mixes the rice krispies and white chocolate. When mixed put into squares and add half an oreo as bat wings. The child can add bat eyes etc using icing or blueberries.
  • Fruit treats- ghost – Using a banana put raisins as the ghosts eyes and mouth.
  • Pumpkin – peel an orange and place celery in the middle for the pumpkin.
  • Eyes – using an grape and adding a little icing as eyeballs.
  • A melon monster – cut a mouth at the button of the mouth, cut the left overs and other fruit as the monsters face and coming from the mouth.
  • A plum bat – add the face using icing and wings using toasted bread.
Sand and Water play

Sand and Water play

The importance of sand and water play within young children’s life’s is fundamentally important. Both can be explored in a variety of ways. Sand and water play provides children with social and emotional skills, sensory play, hand eye coordination, gross and fine motor skills, cognitive thinking, communication skills, problem-solving skills, numeracy skills, science skills and exploration skills. Both of these activities encourage children to work together in sharing and communication. This is great for group sand and water activities. The child can explore the different textures of both sand and water play. For example, different sand types or ice. Sand and water help the child to manipulate their ideas. Sand and water play provides hours of fun and enables the child to explore the sensory aspect of both. It provides questioning such as ‘ice water makes me feel really cold”. Below is a list of different art and activity ideas for home and practice;

Art and Activities

  • Ice sensory tub. This could include items or toys frozen within the water.
  • A sand construction area. This could include a tractor, trailer and digger.
  • A general sand area with buckets, spades and sand toys.
  • Wet sand play. This includes water were the child can explore the depth and feeling of wet sand.
  • Pipes or fitting that the child can count how many cups of sand it takes to fill the pipes.
  • A water ball pool.
  • A water area with a shower hose for the child to explore different areas. This may include a hair salon, bathing the dolls or washing the cars.
  • A water area with different types of boats. For example, paper boat, plastic boat or wooden boat. This helps the child determine “will the wooden boat float? and questioning “why they think that”.
  • A sand cake mix. This may include sand, water, materials from the garden such as flowers, grass, leaves or mud.
  • A beach sand tub. This may include starfish, crabs, shells, seaweed. It may include stones or beads within the water.
  • A water tub with different creatures from the sea. For example, fish – salmon etc, dolphin, whale, jellyfish.
  • A sand and water safari. This may include safari animals such as lion, elephant, monkeys etc.
  • Water tray that includes different drain pipes and buckets. The child can explore timing, and how many.
  • Water tray with water and paint or food colouring.
  • Exploring if sand floats or sinks.
  • Sand pictures.
  • Sand cooking. using the sand in the pretend kitchen.
  • A water laundry wash. This could include washing the dolls cloths and hanging them up on pegs to dry.
  • Sponge wash area. This may include plates and pans from the pretend kitchen or toys.

“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in the child’s soul”

Friedrich Froebel

Friendship

Friendship

Friendship for me is a very important topic to explore with children from a young age. That may be discussing how someone may feel if left out of games or that everyone is friends. The benefits of friendship include social interaction, happiness, well-being, self-confidence, positivity, encourage communication skills, encourage good behaviour, increase empathy, emotional and social development, and positive outlook on life. The early years educator and parent/guardian should model politeness. Children learn from adults and the adults should model asking nicely for things from others. The adult may model sharing with your peers to the children. This may include a discussion and two early childhood educators modelling sharing with each other. The early years educator may organise group activities or games that promote playing cooperatively with friends. Always remember that sometimes like to play alone or like time alone to do the activities that they want to do. Children may change their areas of interests that they previously had and that is okay. Each and every child has a different personality. For example, some children are confident in doing activities with others while others aren’t. Be understanding and show the child ways in joining in or join in yourself. For me friendship is important for a child’s life and development.

Art and Activities:

  • Group activities or games. This may include a wallpaper poster art were a small group of children such as 5 are asked to create a picture on nature. The children will work together to make the picture. This promotes playing cooperatively with other.
  • Story time on friendship. This could include a story about the service environment and the child within the service. The story may include activities and discussion of how the characters within the story felt.
  • A friendship wall in the service. This may include pictures, photographs and things the children have done to together within the service or activities outside of the service.
  • Encourage children and give praise when they have been a good friend. For example, child A helped child B and C tidy the blocks away at the end of playtime. The educator may say “well done child A for helping child B and C to tidy away the blocks”. Ensure the praise is meaningful to the child’s experiences.
  • Role play activities using puppets that the children made within the service. The educator may do the puppet show or involve the children within the show. This also gives great questioning and discussion for the children.
  • What makes you a good friend hand. Trace the child’s hand and ask each child “what makes someone a good friends”? The child may state; sharing crayons, handing out lunch, playing together outside.
  • Musical chairs – great fun and group game.
  • Saying one nice thing that a friend did for them at the end of each day before home time.
  • Having a friendship day within the service.
  • A friendship recipe within the service. It may have titles such as…ingredients: a dash of……, a spoonful of….., a mix of….., a pinch of….., Then a list of instructions.
  • The children make friendship bracelets using materials within the home or the service environment. To make this fair pair two children up and both children swap bracelets. The educator could ask questions, such as “why did you make the bracelet like that for child A?
  • Find a friend worksheet. This may include find a friend who likes chocolate chip cookies, find a find who has a pet dog, find a friends who has blue eyes, find a friend who likes to draw, find a friends who likes tractors etc.
  • creating an area were each child makes a picture of themselves, the educator could join the pictures in a circle of friendship. This could also be done by tracing the child’s hand and joining them within a friendship circle after the child has decorated their own hand.
  • Friendship goals on the service welcome area.
  • A jigsaw pictures were each child draws themselves within a jigsaw piece. The heading could be we all fit together.
  • Friendship story or song.

All About Me

All About Me

This is a fantastic theme within early childhood that helps interaction within the service environment. The children learn about themselves and also the children within the service environment. It may help with child interaction with others. For example, child A may like farm machinery, child E may like farm machinery also but both children did not know the other liked this. This may provide interaction and discussion between both children. This can also help child led activities. For example, an area were their is items related to all about me. This may include pictures of hobbies, hair, eye colour etc. All about me also promotes the learning of the child learning more about themselves as an individual. All about me learning involved includes; questioning, uniquesness, individuality, differences, exploring and thinking, well being, mathematics, communication skills, hand eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, interests. We are all unique in different ways and teaching children this is important. This may include interests. Below is a list of art and activities for this topic;

Art and Activities

  • Creating a mirror using card and tin foil. The child can decorate the mirror using various materials such as gems, coloured card etc. This could include at the top “I am Special”.
  • Discussion on how we are all different and unique. For example, this may be done within a circle time activity. The example may be used I have blonde curly hair, while early years educator B has short brown hair OR child A has brown eyes but child B has green eyes.
  • Skin coloured art. This may be used using colouring pencils, crayons or paints. Each child matched these to their skin colour and create a picture of themselves using the crayons, colouring pencils or paints. This may then be displayed within the room. Each child could put e.g. blue, green or brown eyes and their different features.
  • Playdough Faces. This may include the children taking part in creating the playdough and then creating their own face using the different playdough colours and types.
  • Maths activity. Each child measures their foot or hand using cubes. The sheet at the bottom may include my foot or hand is ____ cubes long. The sheet at the top may include a tracing of the hand or foot.
  • Black face templates. This could include different eye colours, nose and mouth shapes and hair types. The back of these would have either sticky or magnetic backs to stick to the template.
  • A all about me book. The early years practitioner could send each parent or guardian 4 sheets of coloured card and ask each parent or guardian to put photographs of the child’s family and their hobbies within the card. The booklet would then be displayed within the library corner were each child can look at each others booklets. For example, Child A may have a pet dog, while child C may have a pet cat. This opens up conversations.
  • A family area. This would include an individual photograph of every child within the service with their family.
  • A all about me display. This would include a cloud with the child’s name and rainbow coloured strips with all about the child. For example, I like playing outside or I have one brother and 1 sister.
  • Decorating ginger bread men. This activity could include decorating the ginger bread man as the child themselves. e.g. different colouring icing and items such as smarties. Blue icing for child with blue eyes or yellow icing for blonde hair etc.
  • A simple mathematics display. This would include how many children have ______ coloured eyes and how may children have _____ coloured hair. This may follow with their are ___children with blue eyes, while ___children have green eyes. This involves questioning and exploring and thinking.
  • An area were each child within the service is within a map. This may include flags of were each child comes from.
  • A day were parents, guardians and the children bring food from their ethnic background. Each child and the parents simple the foods. The child/parents/guardian who brought each dish tell a little about the dish.
  • Egg faces. This involves making a small hole at the top of an ear and blowing the inside out. The child would then make their face with various materials and be very careful with their egg. For example, cotton wool for hair.
  • Body shapes were each child creates themselves using various materials around the service environment.
  • A jigsaw used cutting up various photographs of the children within the service. This would be a unique activity for the children. The children then try to put their photographs and others within the room together again.
  • Thumb print art. Each child dips their thumb into paint and prints it. This provides discussion on the differences each of their thumbprints are. The early years educator may question “why do you think our thumb prints are all different”.
  • Height chart. This may include using coloured paper measuring each child.
  • A hobby board. This discussion provides openings for activities, making friendships and the educator learning of interests of the children. For example child a, b and c may be interested in the planets.
  • Paper plate faces using various materials such as buttons, cotton wool etc.
  • Creating their own household. This an be done by cutting a house shape out using card or a lollypop sticks. The child would draw their family within the house.
  • An all about me sensory area. This would include a tray with shredded paper and words such as mummy, daddy, sister, brother, granny, grandpa. The tray would then have photographs mixed within the tray. This would provide discussion.
  • A sensory tray with different features of the children within the service. This would include using lentils and cutting features from photographs of the children within the service. Each of the children would guess what features belong to each child. For example, eyes, maybe a picture of a coat a child wears.
  • Outdoor activity. The children creating themselves using outdoor materials such as leaves, grass or flowers.
  • Stories that feature all about me within.
  • Songs. For example, Head, shoulders, knees and toes.

“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive that is youer than you.”

Dr Suess

Autumn

Autumn

Autumn is a great area of exploration for young children. Autumn can be explored in so many different areas. Autumn for me is scarfs, hats, gloves and boots. Children love the context of autumn. Maybe the colour of the leafs and animals hibernating for winter. It gives children the opportunity to explore different areas within the great outdoors. For example, the changing of the trees, acorns and the changing weather. The early years educator may discuss the weather and the features of weather in the autumn. For example, it is colder and dark early in the evenings. Children get excited exploring the feature of autumn. Enabling the child to express their opinions and question why these changes happen in autumn is important.

Art and Activities;

  • Leaf rubbings using different coloured crayons. The child may decide to use a crayon the same colour as the leaf.
  • Bark rubbings using crayons.
  • Exploring the animals of autumn. For example, squirrels, hedgehogs.
  • Creating their own winter tree using cotton buds to stamp the coloured leaves.
  • A autumn leaf catcher. Materials include a paper plate with the middle cut out and leaves collected from the garden and cotton wool to hang up.
  • A leaf hedgehog.
  • Brushing the leaves up from the outdoor environment.
  • Leaf people. Using leaves to create a person’s hair.
  • Conker animals. This may include a hedgehog.
  • A scarecrow man. This may be created using a paper plate for the face and folding paper over to create the hat.
  • Pumpkin soap or faces.
  • A sensory tray containing acorns, conkers, leaves from the garden or early years service.
  • A autumn outdoor tick list. The child ticks off the things they see outdoors. For example, a coloured leaf or a acorn.
  • An outdoor exploration walk. This may include a discussion were children explore the aspects of nature on their walk.
  • Planting bulbs for spring in the outdoor environment.
  • Making apple pie or squares with the children.
  • Make their own scarecrow in the garden using aspects of nature for their scarecrow. E.g. sticks for hands, acorns for eyes.
  • Apple stamping by cutting the apple in half.
  • Exploring the features of an apple. e.g. seeds inside the apple.
  • Recreating the story “were going on a bear hunt” outdoors.
  • flowers in autumn. This may include roses or sunflowers.